How soy plays a role in breast cancer risk and recurrence is one of the most common questions we get asked. A large body of human research suggests eating tofu, soy milk and other soy foods in moderation safe. Now an animal study that may help explain what is seen in human research, shows that eating soy foods when young boosts the immune response against tumors, reducing cancer recurrence.
The study is being presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting, and is not yet published.
Soy contains compounds called isoflavones that mimic the effect of estrogen. This raised concerns that it would stimulate breast tumors fueled by estrogen and may interfere with anti-estrogen treatment, such as tamoxifen. Early animal studies did find a link between isoflavones increasing risk of breast cancer. According to the news release, one reason may be that this early animal research used animals that do not have certain immune cells called cytotoxic T cells. These are among the cells that act against breast tumors. Continue reading
Cutting through diet and cancer headlines and hype isn’t easy for anyone, including your health care providers. They also look for help understanding the evidence and putting the latest studies in perspective.
Last month I was in Atlanta, talking about obesity and cancer with dietitians who work with all kinds of people, from kids to seniors, and doing prevention, clinical work, food service and more. Here are a few common questions they asked, reflecting the questions they get from patients, clients and friends.
1. Grilling: How bad is charring for cancer risk and should we still grill?
AICR’s expert report and updates say there isn’t enough evidence to show that grilled meat increases risk for stomach cancer. But we do know that grilling meat – both red and white – creates cancer-causing substances, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) to form. Because there are ways to limit these substances forming, we recommend 5 ways you can grill more safely. Continue reading
We all know by now that the best way to prevent lung cancer is to not smoke or use any tobacco products. But about ten to fifteen percent of nonsmokers still get lung cancer, a disease that accounts for more deaths than any other cancer type.
For nonsmokers, eating high amounts of tofu, edamame and other soy foods may lower their risk, finds a new study along with an analysis of the research.
The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Study researchers first looked at the diet of approximately 71,000 women who were part of a health study in China. Almost all the women – 97 percent – didn’t smoke. The women answered questions about their typical diet at the start of the study and again two to three years later. They also gave information on their exposure to secondhand smoke and medical history.
After an average of nine years, the study found that women who consumed the most soy foods had almost 40 percent lower risk of lung cancer compared with those who ate the least amounts. This was after taking into account age, other dietary factors and smoking. (Of the 370 women diagnosed with lung cancer during those nine years, all but 30 had never previously smoked.) Continue reading